dis·​in·​gen·​u·​ous | \ ˌdis-in-ˈjen-yə-wəs How to pronounce disingenuous (audio) , -yü-əs\

Definition of disingenuous

: lacking in candor also : giving a false appearance of simple frankness : calculating

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Other Words from disingenuous

disingenuously adverb
disingenuousness noun

Disingenuous Has a Roman History

Ingenous has its roots in the slave-holding society of ancient Rome. Its ancestor ingenuus is a Latin adjective meaning "native" or "freeborn" (itself from gignere, meaning "to beget"). Ingenuus begot the English adjective ingenuous. That adjective originally meant "freeborn" (as in "ingenuous Roman subjects") or "noble and honorable," but it eventually came to mean "showing childlike innocence" or "lacking guile." In the mid-17th century, English speakers combined the negative prefix dis- with ingenuous to create disingenuous, meaning "guileful" or "deceitful."

Examples of disingenuous in a Sentence

"It's had nine murders since 1937—about the same as you would get in many small towns." This was correct, but a wee disingenuous. The AT [Appalachian Trail] had no murders in its first thirty-six years and nine in the past twenty-two. — Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods, 1999 … and he egged Badger on, asking a disingenuous question about the antivivisection rally in Cleveland, and as Badger took the thought up and chewed it over, the Doctor made as if to excuse himself. — T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Road to Wellville, 1993 … he has a disingenuous way of resorting to slang when he wants to make a big point but is afraid of sounding pretentious. — Karen Schoemer, New York Times Book Review, 31 Oct. 1993 Unity is at best an ideal, at worst a disingenuous political slogan. — Salman Rushdie, The Independent on Sunday, 25 Nov. 1990 Her recent expressions of concern are self-serving and disingenuous.
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Recent Examples on the Web

That meant lasers, confetti cannons, disingenuous Boston sports patter, getting a fan to drum for a song, and lots of audience call-and-response. Terence Cawley, BostonGlobe.com, "Spirited opening for Boston Calling," 26 May 2018 To claim Real Madrid are a one-man team would be disingenuous, to say the least; however, their lack of capability without an in-form Ronaldo, as has also been evident at Barcelona with Messi in patches this year, shows cause for concern. SI.com, "Why Real Madrid's Galacticos Don't Deserve to Be Remembered as One of Europe's Greatest Ever Sides," 25 May 2018 Giuliani is hardly the first conservative to make disingenuous claims about bias on social media. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Rudy Giuliani’s bizarre Twitter conspiracy theory, explained," 5 Dec. 2018 Under the too-bright recessed lighting of an anonymous hotel bar on Broadway, his overly manicured facial hair had a whiff of disingenuous creep, too. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "After 10 Years of Dating in New York, This Is What I’ve Learned," 11 Feb. 2019 These days, everyone caves to demands for public mea culpas, but Bee’s felt particularly disingenuous. Jessica Bennett, New York Times, "About Samantha Bee, Ivanka Trump and That Word," 2 June 2018 So, if the motivation is to sell more product, then cause marketing is not the way to do that because it’s usually seen as disingenuous. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Warby Parker Founders Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa, and Iman, on Why Being an Activist “Is a Daily Thing”," 11 Oct. 2018 There's nothing left to investigate here, everyone knows that, this is a political tactic, and is disingenuous. Fox News, "Brit Hume on fallout from Kavanaugh hearing; Alan Dershowitz on Rachel Mitchell's performance," 28 Sep. 2018 The furor over Trump's snub of the Eagles and the disingenuous reasons behind it is understandable. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Trump's White House ceremony is a joke. Here's what isn't," 5 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disingenuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of disingenuous

1655, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of disingenuous was in 1655

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English Language Learners Definition of disingenuous

formal : not truly honest or sincere : giving the false appearance of being honest or sincere

Comments on disingenuous

What made you want to look up disingenuous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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